Sight & Sound Theater, which is known for its biblical stage productions, is releasing its very first motion picture, ‘I Heard the Bells,’ through Sight & Sound Films this December. The film tells the story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who was able to find hope and faith on Christmas Day after his life turned upside down as America was torn apart by the Civil War. The film rings in the holiday season spreading hope to those who need it most as they are reminded of the Lord’s love and power.
According to CBN News, the writer and director for ‘I Heard the Bells,’ John Enck, explained why this beloved Christmas carol became the first film featured by the production company. Enck said, “‘What it comes down to is this: Sight & Sound Films wants to tell stories of figures and events from history that changed the world because Christ first changed them, and we wanted to do a Christmas story.'”
“‘We discovered this beautiful story that came out of one of the nation’s darkest time periods, which was the Civil War, and it’s a poem, and it’s really a diary entry about the protagonist, Henry Longfellow, and his whole journey of faith. And we thought there are a lot of people who can relate to this man who had it all, lost it all, and had it come back again and be redeemed through, in this case, the symbol of a bell ringing out more loud and deep: God is not dead, nor does he sleep,'” Enck explained.
The actor who portrays Longfellow, Stephen Atherhold, shared with CBN News that his character’s struggle for hope resonated with him. Atherhold said, “We all have trials in this life. When you are not willing to give in. When you say, ‘I know there is hope on the other side,’ even though Henry couldn’t see it. We all long for that. And to be able to find that hope with him as a character was a beautiful journey.”
The actress portraying Longfellow’s wife Fanny, Rachel Day Hughes, shared that the final words of the poem are “Peace on earth, good will to men,” which come from Scripture, noting these words “are the reason we celebrate Christmas, because Christ really did come to give us peace on earth.” Hughes added that she hopes this film inspires people to grow their faith after watching Longfellow rekindle his.
Bringing the beautiful Christmas carol to life, Sight & Sound Films is reminding everyone of the true meaning of Christmas and the real gift we all receive on that day. The gift of having hope, love, and faith is the best anyone can ask for, and Longfellow shows just how powerful and special that gift is. Though journeys may grow difficult, Longfellow inspires us to “open up our hearts” to “hear the bells.”